The Adorable Trinity investigates the little–known yet fascinating conflict between Trinitarianism and Unitarianism in the nineteenth century American South. It explores the lives, ministries, and theological contributions of three Southern Presbyterian pastor–scholars associated with Columbia Theological Seminary – James Henley Thornwell, Thomas Smyth, and Benjamin Morgan Palmer – and their winsome, fruitful stands for the Trinitarian faith in response to a burgeoning Southern Unitarian movement. In a readable and engaging way, the author provides readers with intriguing history that illumines the mind and warm theology that moves the heart to adore and serve the Triune God of love.
There is a certain lineage of southern Presbyterian theologians who, whatever their defects, nurtured a doctrine and devotion so intensely, pervasively, and uniquely trinitarian that they have long stood in need of closer study. What can account for this revival of excitement about the doctrine of the Trinity at this particular time and place? This book unlocks at least one part of the secret: these theologians and pastors knew themselves to be contending against an organized unitarian movement. By establishing this polemical context for their work, and then reading them sympathetically against this background, Nance has shed much light on an often ignored phase of American theological history.
Fred Sanders, Professor of Systematic Theology, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University, La Mirada, California
If you love church history and desire to know our Triune God in a more glorious fashion, then The Adorable Trinity is a must read. I highly recommend it solely for the benefit of worshipping our majestic God, who has existed forever – Father, Son and Spirit – in constant love, communion, and glorious unity of essence and purpose.
Rod A. Culbertson, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina
A timely, careful, well–documented study of Southern Presbyterian orthodoxy on the doctrine of the Trinity. It is thoughtful, clear and occasionally bold where it needs to be. Nance’s point is that we need to recover a robustly Trinitarian shape to ministry in all of its aspects. And he is correct. The contents of this fine book will do much to bring a much–needed reformation to the twenty–first century church.
Derek Thomas, Senior Minister of Preaching and Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina